Review of Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Furies of Calderon
Codex Alera Book 1
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 688 (paperback)

Date Started: November 15, 2015
Date Finished: November 19, 2015 (around 2am)

Synopsis:(From Amazon)29396
For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.” “Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.” Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

Review:
This book was recommended to me by a great friend, Maria Picone of Sky Tango Freelance, who knew that I had read The Dresden Files and felt that I was missing out.  Cheers, Maria– you were totally correct.  This book is AMAZING.  I don’t want to be disloyal to my love of The Dresden Files, and my love for The Dresden Files hasn’t changed, but this book is on a completely different level and comparing the two would be like comparing apples to oranges.

There is not a single character that does not have a purpose, who has no definition, or redeeming qualities.  I cared just as much about seeing what happened to the antagonistic characters as I did the protagonists.  Everything is explained incredibly well, in ways that made sense and helped draw a reader further into the book.  The furies originally made me think a bit of the daemons in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, but furies are unique individuals, and though they are connected to the characters they are not part of a whole.  Although the novel appeared from multiple standpoints this didn’t cause any sort of disconnect from chapter to chapter.  There were times when I desperately wanted to be following one part of the story, but was just as easily drawn into the happenings of another character.

While this book is quite lengthy, I found it to be hard to set down, and perfect.  While this adventure appears to be concluded, with all of the loose ends tied up, there are many ways that the series could continue after this particular title.  I have some speculations in regards to how some of these characters may be connected and I intend to keep note of them, though I believe whether or not my conjectures are correct will be shown, in time.

I cannot say enough about this book, and I cannot wait to read more!  Way to go, Jim Butcher.  Way to go!

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

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Review of Owl in Love by Patrice Kindl

Owl in Love
By Patrice Kindl

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Number of Pages: 224owl-paper-lg

Date Started AND Finished: October 26, 2015

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Part bird of prey, part teenage girl in love, and now part stalker, Owl Tycho’s life is complicated. It becomes even more so when an inept new shape-shifter appears on the scene. Funny, smart, and supernatural, Owl is a young woman worth getting to know.

Review:
Owl is both unique and odd, while suffering through many symptoms of a regular teenage girl, she is also has to deal with being an owl and the complications that come to her because of that.  Through finding human friendship and realizing that sometimes your undying love isn’t actually love, Owl’s struggles are quite similar to the average teenager.  Unfortunately, while Owl’s parents being old school witches does explain why she has been able to successfully live in the human world as a shapeshifter, the way in which they don’t seem to know or care about the way of regular people (because as witches, they are apparently a class that stands apart from a traditional human), and that detracts quite a bit from the overall story, until towards the last third of the novel.  While the story did take a few chapters to draw me in, especially due to the oddness of Owl’s parents, once I was further along I couldn’t put it down.

Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Patrice Kindl’s first novel, Owl in Love, was an ALA Notable Book for Children, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Award Honor Book. She lives in Middleburgh, New York.

Check out Patrice Kindl’s Amazon page.


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Review of Bewitching by Jill Barnett

Bewitching
By Jill Barnett

Star Rating: 
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Number of Pages: 464

Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)bewitching200
What’s a duke to do when a carefully selected bride rejects him rather than marry without love? He salvages his pride by marrying the next woman who falls into his arms. Joyous Fiona MacQuarrie bewitched the Duke of Belmore the moment she appeared from nowhere and knocked him over…literally. Joyous MacQuarrie is a Scottish witch whose powers of white magic are not always easy for her to control. When Alec’s pride makes him choose to marry her, Joy turns the life of the most serious and snobbish duke in England upside down. Too soon Alec finds his well ordered and controlled life a mess, because he married a witch–one who turns him to fire when he kisses her, who charms everyone around her, and threatens to destroy both their lives as scandal looms over her. Too late, Joy discovers she’s desperately in love and not even the strongest magic can seem to turn her into a proper duchess, or make her husband love her. Passion holds them spellbound in an irresistibly funny and tender tale of two opposite but lonely hearts.

Review:
Joyous was quite easy to relate to, as many of us have had things we have wanted to badly to be good at and yet fail, despite our best attempts.  Schooling is quite reflective of Joy’s trials, since many have a subject they simply cannot master, even if they are interested in it.  While necessary, I found the opening chapter of the novel tedious and a bit boring, though that could be seen as how life seemed for Joy as she tried to master her magic.  Once past the beginning I couldn’t help but become enthralled within the story, but I had to push myself over that hump to get into the meat of the tale.  Nothing is as it seems within the depths of Bewitching, and with great use of foreshadowing and hidden agendas, it is impossible not to fall bewitched yourself.

41xswK+IwUL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)


Check out Jill Barnett’s Amazon page.







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Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

Review of A Witch’s Concern by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Concern
Book 4 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 237

Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)25010389
Michelle has been figuring out what her life is like now that the demon has been killed, and Sylvia and Varro are dead. Even the clans of witches trying to attract her to their way of life have backed off and given her a chance to grieve. Her relationship with Elron is stronger than ever, but there are things left unsaid.

On the way to her parents’ wedding, the delicate calm she’d been living in is broken. Witches are out for her blood, her family is caught in the crossfire, and friendships are threatened. Work doesn’t let up either, and she partners up with Elron to deal with magic gone wild. Michelle finds that her problems are larger than one clan of witches, and is forced to choose between the people she holds dear and the way of life she loves.

This is the fourth book in a series, following A Witch’s Trial. It is a standalone novel, however, your reading experience will be greatly enhanced if you’ve read the previous books.

Review:
After such an odd and life changing ending as seen in A Witch’s Trial which I reviewed I absolutely had to know what came next for Elron and Michelle.  The progress they have made from disliking each other is astounding, and I was quite glad, because it was something I had wanted to see from the first book in the series.  This book held a lot of questions for me, namely about why Elron and Michelle are choosing to stay so distanced.  I am hoping that this question will be answered in the future, so I will not get into detail about what, in particular, I kept expecting to see.  While this novel had the same issues as the previous ones, this time part of the descriptions actually mattered, which made me quite pleased.  Certain locations that are frequently referenced also had major impacts on the story, with important plot points happening there.

Unfortunately, while there was a lot about this novel that is different from previous ones, the plot itself seemed more of a run off from the end of the previous book, and not powerful enough or gripping enough to have been made into a whole novel on its own.  While the page count was around the same as the last couple of books, I felt as if the story as a whole was more of a novella than a novel.  I loved the ending, and look forward to reading more in the future, but I wish that some of the happenings that seemed like side events were more important in this novel (though it is evident they will be important plot points in books to come).

61P034pMUPL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I live in North Georgia with my dog and a mountain of books. We sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter. Life as we know it comes to an end when so much as a single snowflake falls out of the sky.

For fun, I play with my dog, read, knit, crochet, paint, tie-dye, and do origami. I make a great pizza. I’m negotiating with my roommate over sea monkeys and working on a vegetable garden.

Black tea and water are my favorite beverages. I’m a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Arrow.  A few of my favorite authors are Ann Bishop, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Tamora Pierce, Raymond E. Feist, and Christine Feehan.

Also check out N. E. Conneely’s Amazon page.

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Review of A Witch’s Trial by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Trial
Book 3 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 236

Season Read: Fall

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Synopsis:(From Amazon)
When Michelle pulls an old book out of a fire, she finds answers and heartbreak. The book confirms that a demon walks the land, though according to legend they were all dead. Now, she needs to rediscover the secrets to killing demons before her loved ones fall victim.
Elron’s budding relationship with Michelle suffers a blow when his mate returns. While he struggles with love and guilt, it becomes clear that not everyone gets their happily-ever-after.

This is the third book in a series, following Witch for Hire and A Witch’s Path. Your reading experience will be greatly enhanced if you’ve read the previous books.

Review:
Once I read the 2nd book in A Witch’s Path series, titled, A Witch’s Path which I reviewed I wanted more, immediately.  So I went forth and purchased this third book and began to read.  While not everyone gets their happily ever after, how they have to go about preserving the future is likely not something anyone but Conneely could have dreamt up.  Though A Witch’s Trial suffers from some of the same issues as the previous novel (too much detail/description of unimportant things), the story itself is gripping, and has some great foreshadowing throughout.  The further we continue into Michelle’s world, the more we get to understand her relationships, which makes her even more human.  A Witch’s Trial is a great read, which will have you quickly buying book four to continue the adventure.

61P034pMUPL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I live in North Georgia with my dog and a mountain of books. We sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter. Life as we know it comes to an end when so much as a single snowflake falls out of the sky.

For fun, I play with my dog, read, knit, crochet, paint, tie-dye, and do origami. I make a great pizza. I’m negotiating with my roommate over sea monkeys and working on a vegetable garden.

Black tea and water are my favorite beverages. I’m a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Arrow.  A few of my favorite authors are Ann Bishop, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Tamora Pierce, Raymond E. Feist, and Christine Feehan.

Also check out N. E. Conneely’s Amazon page.

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If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.

Thank you! 

Review of A Witch’s Path by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Path
Book 2 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 240

Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)21570552
After a near death experience, Michelle has vowed to do her job, magical assistance for the police, and leave the heroics to someone else. Besides, life should be settling down for her since the trolls have been captured and the sorceress was neutralized. Unfortunately, the power behind the sorceress wants her dead, Elron starts acting funny, a magical creature wreaks havoc on a town, and there’s trouble with the werewolves. As if that wasn’t enough, the clans have started to notice her power and she has more reasons than ever to fear the clans.

Things go from bad to worse when Michelle’s best friend is abducted, and she must decide between her friend and her vow to stay out of dangerous situations.

A Witch’s Path is the sequel to Witch for Hire and continues the story of Michelle and Elron.

Review:
Wasn’t really sure what I felt like reading, but I suddenly remembered that Witch for Hire had a sequel/was the beginning of a series, so I bought A Witch’s Path and decided to read on.  Oh my goodness!  While there are some lulls in the novel, predominantly over description that is simply unnecessary, and some grammatical/editing errors, this series is a gem!  I absolutely adore the characters and find them easy to relate to (though I forget what colour Michelle’s hair is, perhaps because her friend Amber’s hair is always described in such detail).  Although I had a slight hunch over one of the big bad evils to emerge, it floored me when I found out exactly who it was.  Definitely not a novel to be missed!

61P034pMUPL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I live in North Georgia with my dog and a mountain of books. We sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter. Life as we know it comes to an end when so much as a single snowflake falls out of the sky.

For fun, I play with my dog, read, knit, crochet, paint, tie-dye, and do origami. I make a great pizza. I’m negotiating with my roommate over sea monkeys and working on a vegetable garden.

Black tea and water are my favorite beverages. I’m a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Arrow.  A few of my favorite authors are Ann Bishop, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Tamora Pierce, Raymond E. Feist, and Christine Feehan.

Also check out N. E. Conneely’s Amazon page.

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If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.

Thank you! 

Review of Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files
Short stories from The Dresden Files
By Jim Butcher

 

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 432Side-jobs-by-jim-butcher

Season Read: Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher-a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a novella exclusive to this collection that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the April 2010 hardcover, Changes. This is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan as well as a perfect introduction for readers ready to meet Chicago’s only professional wizard.

Review:
I highly disagree with the synopsis.  Go read the first book first.  It’s awesome.  The whole series is awesome.

As for the reviews: what can I say without giving away important plot points?  Some of the short stories I liked more than others, but they were all good.  I liked getting to see more into Harry’s relationships with both his brother and with Billy and Georgia.  Harry is so REAL, that it’s no wonder Chicago would go crazy without him.

Author Bio:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a more detailed biography of Jim Butcher, as well as a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

 

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If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.

Thank you!